World's 50 Best Restaurants logoThe eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!

The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants.  The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region.  Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote.  No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order.  Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones.   For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.

The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one position, having lost out to El Celler de Can Roca in Girona as the number one restaurant in the world last year. The Roca brothers’ El Celler de Can Roca dropped to second place, while Chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena remained in third place. Noma Rene REdzepi Noma Chef René Redzepi expressed his surprise in winning again, the fourth time in top position since 2010. He thanked his ‘dream team‘ of chefs, for their patience and dedication, saying that he is not always easy to work with.  A video interview with Chef René was shown at the start of the ceremony, and he said that ‘vegetables will become the lead guitarist’ in the future.  Despite moving his restaurant to Japan for a few months in 2015, he made it clear that he has ‘no appetite to expand’ to add more restaurants.  Chefs Chris Erasmus from Pierneef à La Motte, Shaun Schoeman from Fyndraai at Solms-Delta, and Eric Bulpitt of The Restaurant at Newton Johnson have done stages at Noma.

Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the ‘One to Watch’ in 2013, and it was predicted that it would make the Top 50 Restaurant list this year on the basis of that accolade. It made 48th place, and was named Africa’s Best Restaurant. Chef Luke and former South African Chef Philip Howard of The Square restaurant in London hosted a joint dinner on Sunday evening at Chef Philip’sLuke Dale-Roberts Pig Head Smiley restaurant, and one of Chef Luke’s dishes was a ‘Pig head Smiley‘! Le Quartier Français’ The Tasting Room in Franschhoek only made 72nd place, its worst performance ever, having been ranked at 53rd position in 2013.  Chef David Higgs’ five hundred was missed on the top 100 list, given his 2014 Eat Out Best Chef Award.

At a Terroir lunch held earlier in the day, some of the top chefs were interviewed. Chef Massimo Bottura spoke about the importance of the event being about ‘universal sharing’ with other chefs, and a thanks to their staff.

World's 50 Best Fergus Henderson pig's headChef Fergus Henderson was honoured with the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award 2014, credited for the focus on nose-to-tail cuisine twenty years ago when he opened St John restaurant, pioneering British cuisine.  Chef HelenaWorld's 50 Best veuve_clicquot_helena_rizzo_2014 Rizzo from Mani in São Paulo received the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef 2014.  The One to Watch was named as Saison in San Francisco.  The Chefs’ Choice Award, as voted for by the top chefs, was Alex Atala of D.O.M in São Paulo. Central Restaurante from Lima was named the Highest Climber, improving by 35 places on the Top 50 ranking. The Highest placed New Entry was Gaggan in Bangkok. The World’s Best Pastry Chef was named as Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca.  Azurmendi in Bilbao is the Best Sustainable Restaurant.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 are the following:

1. Noma, Copenhagen (Denmark) – Best Restaurant in Europe

2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona (Spain)

3. Osteria Francescana, Modena (Italy)

4. Eleven Madison Park, New York (USA) – Best Restaurant in North America, sponsored by Acqua Panna

5. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (UK)

6. Mugaritz, San Sebastian (Spain)

7. D.O.M., Sao Paulo (Brazil) – Best Restaurant in South America, sponsored by Acqua Panna

8. Arzak, San Sebastian (Spain)

9. Alinea, Chicago (USA)

10. The Ledbury, London (UK)

11. Mirazur, Menton (France)

12. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach (Germany)

13. Nahm, Bangkok (Thailand) – Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by Acqua Panna, and Asia’s Best Restaurant 2014

14. Narisawa, Tokyo (Japan)

15. Central, Lima (Peru) – HIGHEST CLIMBER

16. Steirereck, Vienna (Austria)

17. Gaggan, Bangkok (Thailand) – HIGHEST NEW ENTRY

18. Astrid Y Gastón, Lima (Peru)

19. Fäviken, Järpen (Sweden)

20. Pujol, Mexico City (Mexico)

21. Le Bernardin, New York (USA)

22. Vila Joya, Albufeira (Portugal)

23. Restaurant Frantzén, Stockholm (Sweden)

24. Amber, Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

25. Arpège, Paris (France)

26. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu (Spain) – NEW ENTRY

27. Le Chateaubriand, Paris (France)

28. Aqua, Wolfsburg (Germany)

29. De Librije, Zwolle (Netherlands) – RE ENTRY

30. Per Se, New York (USA)

31. L’Atelier de Jӧel Robuchon Saint-Germain, Paris (France)

32. Attica, Melbourne (Australia) – Best Restaurant in Australasia, sponsored by Acqua Panna

33. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo (Japan)

34. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo (Spain)

35. Martín Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria (Spain) – RE ENTRY

36. Mani, Sao Paulo (Brazil)

37. Restaurant André, Singapore (Singapore)

38. L’Astrance, Paris (France)

39. Piazza Duomo, Alba (Italy)

40. Daniel, New York (USA)

41. Quique Dacosta, Denia (Spain)

42. Geranium, Copenhagen (Denmark)

43. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau (Switzerland)

44. The French Laundry, Yountville (USA)

45. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem (Belgium)

46. Le Calandre, Rubano (Italy)

47. The Fat Duck, Bray (UK)

48. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town (South Africa) – NEW ENTRY and Best Restaurant in Africa, sponsored by Acqua Panna

49. Coi, San Francisco (USA) – NEW ENTRY

50. Waku Ghin, Singapore (Singapore) – NEW ENTRY 

POSTSCRIPT 29/4: The list of the Africa and Indian Oceans judging panel of 36 includes the following: Andy Fenner, David Cope, Ravi Naidoo, Pieter Ferreira, Pete Goffe-Wood, Letitia Prinsloo, Karl Lambour, Ishay Govender-Ypma, Hetta van Deventer, Gwynne Conlyn, Gaby Gramm, Fasie Malherbe, Cindy Muller, Chantel Dartnall, Carianne Wilson, Arnold Tanzer, Beezy Bailey, and Anna Ridgewell.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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